No letter to answer! In holiday season (the seventeenth is a holiday here) the mails do not run smoothly. Hence I have no letter. Your last post-card was only a wail—a voice crying in the wilderness —"weary and ill at lease.” I suppose from now till the blessed 22nd you’ll do your hibernating. After the awful cramming of history, you are entitled to much luxurious sleep. Once exams are over you feel as though you were entering an entirely new existence. Throw off the grub and be a glorious butterfly. Think no more of Pelagianism and Thucydides, of Gregory and the forged Decretal —
begin now to gather rose buds and now and then a thorn prick your tender skin, behold I am there to pluck it forth and heal the tiny wound with a kiss.
But my kisses loving
Again loving again
Seals of love not sealed in vain, not in vain.
Robert sent me a typewritten letter yesterday and I replied in kind only this afternoon. Had the weather been anything but a foul continuation of the dripping Plurvais we’ve had almost exclusively of late; I fear Bob would not have got his answer so soon. But it was too wet to venture forth on the river today, especially since we were caught yesterday and had to spend two not unpleasant hours under the canopy of our overturned craft. I was glad after all to have the chance to stay home and help with the organization of home industry.
Last night rebellion flared into open flame. My sisters had to stay home and look after the house, my mother being absent. So they exploded after seeing me come home after a day in the open. “Why should we, they said, “take the responsibility of seeing that everything goes right while you pack off and have a glorious good time. Just because we’re girls? We strike!”
June 17, 1917
…. to pluck it forth and heal the tiny wound with a kiss.
They weren’t altogether just to be sure for I’ve tried to help out a good deal since my mother’s away but evidently, they regard my cooperation as too haphazard. It certainly has been mighty hard for them to teach school and then come home to arrange a mess of dishes, get supper, and make the beds, besides struggling to get the kids to help out. So today I got the dinner and supper ready, washed innumerable dishes and pans, swept up, wiped the floor etc. and let them take it comparatively easy. It really isn’t so much that they mind the work, though that’s bad enough. It’s the attitude of my mother and to a certain extend my father who take it for granted that the girls should do the housework in addition to their regular work. I can see the breach between them and my mother widening every day. It’s a pity and I wish something could be done to stop it. The trouble is that there’s too much work to be done, they’re all too tired to do it and whiff! all of a sudden someone has a case of nerves.
My mother has worked so terribly hard for these many years herself, struggling to make her economic position secure, giving her children what education they were willing to take, that she’s a little unsympathetic towards the girls who resent the idea of slaving for the house and in the house, particularly when they think it possible to hire someone to do the work. But there really is the rub. It’s damn hard to get a maid to come into a household of eight, though it isn’t as bad as it sounds, because we all do a good deal of our own work. All of which makes it more and more clear that it’s a frightful job to tackle—that of being a parent.
Certainly no one could give more of herself than my mother to her children, and yet here is the situation—the two girls in articulate rebellion (more verbal perhaps than actual) and very largely justified.
Well, Minkie dearest, I hear my aunt approaching: So I’ll say goodnight and act goodnight.
Happy days are almost here.
17 June 1917